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General Dentistry – Services | Education

In general dentistry, the dentist provides an array of services and procedures.  Here, the dentist diagnoses, treats, and manages the overall dental oral healthcare needs that include cleanings, examinations, gum care fillings, root canals, veneers, bridges, and crowns. The focus is to help you preserve your natural teeth as long as possible and ensure your oral health is maintained, and also keep you looking and feeling great throughout life.

What Do General Dentists Do?

Before we start with what a general dentist does, let’s see the basic qualification of general dentistry in the U.S.

Degree LevelProfessional or doctoral degree
Degree FieldDental surgery or dental medicine
TrainingPost-degree training residency required for specialized
LicensureLicensure required in all states
Key SkillsGood judgment, decision-making, communication and
leadership skills; detailed-oriented; manual dexterity and
organizational skills, knowledge of dental anatomy and
medical procedures

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET Online

All dentist in the US must obtain state licensure to practice. Requirements vary by state including passing a practical examination administration approved by their state’s licensing board. 

General dentist focuses primarily on preventive maintenance and restorative dental care. The services provided prevents decay of teeth, diseases of mouth, gums, and tongue. This will call for regular cleaning and routine examination to help prevent, diagnose early and treat ailments of the oral cavity and also look to maintain the appearance of the teeth. 

Restorative dental care or services repairs the damage caused by tooth decay, any trauma, and disease in the mouth area. General dentists, instead of specializing in one area, are trained on all dental procedures.

Some of General Dentistry Services are:

1. Complete exams and x-rays

During the first visit, a comprehensive dental check-up is performed and the hygienist will examine, and diagnostic x-rays are taken to check. Oral cancer screening, gum disease evaluation and examination of tooth decay are all done under the complete exams

2. Professional Dental Cleaning (dental Prophylaxis)

They provide services like removal of plaque or tartar left on the tooth/teeth.

The plaque and tartar left on the teeth get hardened over time. Usually, it is formed below the gum line and needs special dental instruments to remove. A general dentist can easily remove them when we go dental cleaning

Also, plaque which is a sticky invisible layer on the tooth that you can quickly feel is also a living bacterium formed on the teeth. These bacteria produce poisons (toxins) that causes the gums to inflame. If not treated on time, then the inflammation can cause periodontal disease. Dental cleaning removes these plaques from your teeth.

3. Fillings

Fillings are done to stop cavities from spreading. Whenever a hole, left behind after the tooth has decayed is not checked and treated, the decay spreads, damaging the tooth. In order for the decay to not spread the decayed area inside the cavity is cleaned using a drill, later the filling procedure takes place. It is vital to remove all the decay and avoid any further damage to the tooth. The filling is made from a resin composite, the standard is a silver amalgam and a glass ionomer filling. The mould is made to match the surrounding tooth. The filler restores the tooth functionality effectively almost immediately.

4. Root Canals

Root canal is a procedure dentist used to treat or repair the inside of the tooth which is damaged instead of removing it. In dentistry, this procedure is known by the name “Endodontics”. Endodontic procedures deal with the treatment of the dental pulp, which is cleaning and disinfecting the canals inside the tooth’s root. After removing the decay, a filling is used to seal it.

5. Tooth Extraction

If the tooth is decayed and severely damaged or broken, the dentist tries to fix or treat with a crown, filling, or some other treatment depending on the scale of the damage. If the damage or decay is beyond repairs the tooth would need extraction. Extraction is needed when a loose tooth, would block other teeth from coming up; broken or bad teeth that do not fall in time, prevents the new tooth from coming in; getting new braces may require room and teeth extraction helps in creating the room; when wisdom teeth or molars are damaged, broken or decayed. Extraction treatment would require intravenous anesthesia. There are two types of extraction, simple and surgical. In a simple extraction or removal, the dentist uses a tool called elevator and forceps to remove the loosened tooth.  Whenever a tooth is broken from the gumline, the dentist proceeds with a surgical extraction procedure. A small incision to the gum and removal of some bone around the tooth may be required. Sometimes the dentist may cut the tooth into half for easy extraction.   

6. Cosmetic procedures

The most vital asset to one’s face is a beautiful smile, and it is your smile that makes you unique and stand out of the crowd. A person should take proper care of their teeth to smile the brightest as always. Here cosmetic dentistry procedures are used to make you happy with your smile or the shape of your teeth or the color or even the length. The process involves one or more cosmetic, dental or facial rejuvenation procedures, as the replacement of amalgam fillings with composite; bent, curved or crooked teeth can be straightened; chipped broken teeth can be repaired to mention a few. Other procedures can include: Laser teeth whitening to take your shade of teeth to lighter and more desired color. Use of Invisalign Aligners braces or Invisible Braces to straighten crooked teeth. Use of Laminates and Dental Veneers for chipped teeth and use of Dental Implants to replace missing teeth.

7. Teeth Whitening

Depending on the severity of the stain, professional cleaning or whiteningmay be required to bring back the sparkling white teeth. Stains caused by food and tobacco, beverages like coffee and red wine, berries are all external stains. Bleaching (in-office or at home), recommended by dentist is usually the quickest way to restore bright white teeth. However, people with periodontal disease or sensitive teeth are advised to avoid chemical bleaching techniques. Bleaching is also not recommended for people who have fillings or root canal done, till the teeth/tooth is completely healed. Also, in cases with jaw infection or jaw problems, a crown or cap is recommended than bleaching.

8. Dental Veneers

Teeth that are stained, misaligned, chipped with gaps can be treated with Veneers. Veneers are a thin layer of composite resin material placed over the tooth. The dentist custom makes the veneers to the contour of one’s teeth, and they are bounded to tooth’s enamel, and then the dentist places the veneer on the tooth, which is usually prefabricated. Porcelain veneers are recommended for crooked teeth. To take care of your dental veneers you should floss once a day. Moreover, brush twice to remove food particles and keep the teeth from plaque bacteria. Over some time, the veneers need to be changed. Consulting a dentist before deciding on placing a veneer is essential because it is irreversible.

9. Crowns and bridges

Dental Crowns are custom made cap-like coverings made to cover a specific tooth.  Generally done after the root canal treatment. Crowns, Dentures, and Bridges are prosthetic devices. These devices are used to cover the damaged, decayed or fractured teeth/tooth.  Also, they are used to replace single or multiple missing tooth/teeth. CAD/CAM (Computer Assisted Design/Computer Assisted Milling) technology is used today for the precise and detailed finishing of the tooth/teeth.

10. Dental implants

A dental implant is like a tooth root, which is a titanium post the dentist surgically places into the jawbone beneath the gum line. They are metal posts or frames positioned into the jawbone beneath the gums. This support allows the dentist to mount replacement teeth on to them. Implants provide firm support for artificial teeth. This secure firm post helps dentures and bridges and crowns. To go with implants, one needs to have healthy gums and adequate and robust bone to support the implant. Maintaining oral health is essential and critical for most dental implants to be successful and last longer.  Implants are expensive and mostly not covered under the health plan.  You may need dental insurance coverage.

11. Dentures

Replacement for missing teeth, denturescan be taken out and put back into the mouth.  They look natural and though one may take time adjusting to it, they are becoming more and more common and comfortable. Until bridges, dentures were the most common choice for replacement of missing teeth/tooth. New dentures feel awkward at the beginning and usually uncomfortable while eating. To take care of your dentures annual check-ups are necessary. 

There are two main types of dentures, full or partial. In full conventional dentures, dentures are placed inside the mouth only after the remaining teeth removed and tissues have healed. Partial dentures are a metal framework that is attached to the remaining natural teeth. To anchor, well crowns are placed on the natural teeth.  

12. Gum disease treatment

Gum disease is the inflammation of the gum line. If not treated, it can affect the bone that surrounds and supports teeth. Several symptoms can alert the presence of gum diseases. Depending on the severity; the dentist will advise the necessary treatment. Improper oral care is the number one cause of gum disease. Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two common types of gum diseases. Gingivitis is the inflation of gums, which is caused by plaque or tartar built on teeth. Untreated on time will cause periodontitis. Periodontitis is loosening of teeth or in severe case fall of teeth.

Some of the most common gum diseases symptoms are bad breath, bleeding while brushing or flossing, swollen gums, and loose teeth. Maintain good oral and hygiene care at home, brush, and floss every day to remove bacteria, see the dentist for routine cleanings at least twice a year to avoid gum diseases.

Specialists focus on a particular aspect of dental care or practice, and general dentistry focused on a wide range of dental services — mainly focusing on preventive services, restorative or therapeutic services, cosmetic procedures, and overall health concerns.  Depending on your dental issue, a general dentist may refer you to a specialist for further examination or treatment. To maintain good health, you may require to do a dental visit twice a year to keep looking healthy, bright and having a sparkling smile on your face. 

During the initial visit to our San Francisco office, Dr. Mohamed Ali will thoroughly examine your mouth and will present different options and also advise you on the best option, suited for you. The billing experts will check your insurance benefits and offer a complete treatment plan with the financial arrangements. We accept all major dental and medical PPO insurance plans. We also have an in-office Plan For Health for those who don’t have insurance. Additionally, we have partnered with various financial institutions like Care Credit, The Lending Club, Healthcare Finance Solutions, to make your treatment extremely affordable. We will be happy to answer all your questions. So just sit, relax, and get your general dental examination done and get back your sparkling white teeth. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 415.391.7751

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